Skip to main content

Full text of "History And Human Relation"

THE    BANGERS    OF    HISTORY

We are now in a position to survey the influence which
something like a hundred and fifty years of historical
study has exercised on the development of modern
Europe. It is not clear that* as yet we have learned jdl
that there is to learn from this particular aspect of the
history of historical science, or fathomed all the effects
that the study of the past has itself had on nations and
their policies. Concerning historians as interpreters and
guides in the affairs of their own generation, I have read
s.ome severe things that Englishmen have written about
German scholars, and there are similar things that the
Germans have said about us. But the world still waits
for the wag who will scientifically examine the nineteenth
and twentieth-century writers of history and show us how
far their studies and researches really did raise them above
the fevers and prejudices of their time—how far in
reality it is plausible to argue that historians are wiser

" than the rest of their contemporaries on political matters.

- And a more scientific age than ours may even find
materials for an analytical treatment of associated
questions ; for, to take one example, it would be inter-
esting to see it demonstrated whether it is always pru-
dent to rely for political advice on the kind of " expert-
ness " which the " regional historian" possesses—at
any rate the one who, through the knowledge of one
of the obscurer languages has happened to acquire
something approaching a monopoly in his field, without
having to face any great clash of scholarship in his
own country. And if we say that a given expert on
Ruritania must be right provided he is accepted by
the Rumanians themselves, the history of historiography

H.H.R.                               l6l                                     L